MARSHALL, Mo. – Katherine Dudra's 13 kills helped third-ranked Park University out-slug Avila University 46-26 over three sets, as the Pirates swept the Eagles in Marshall, Missouri, 25-12, 25-19, 25-18, at the Missouri Valley College Invitational. 

 

Park (2-0) hit .309 and held Avila to .131, putting three players in double digits defensively, including Nada and Noura Meawad, who combined for 25 digs. Nada Meawad also missed a double-double by one kill, connecting on nine, while Danna Gomes had 36 of the team's 44 assists.

 

"I thought we ran our system efficiently, especially with 16 (of 26) players getting on the floor," said Park coach Mike Talamantes. "Our chemistry took a step forward in the two matches, today, and we had a good mix of contributors. It's definitely something to build on."

 

Dudra was also Park's leader at the net, in on three of the team's six blocks, and the Pirates scored nine times from the service line, getting four aces from Gomes.

 

The Pirates didn't trail past the fifth point in any of the three sets, coming from behind to win the first and second, erasing early deficits to build big leads in both of the opening frames. It was Nada Meawad's ace that put a stop to the first set, capping a 4-0 run to end the set, a spurt that included two kills from transfer middle blocker Maren Mair.

 

In the second, Park used a 3-0 run to build a 20-13 lead, but Avila fought back to outscore the Pirates 6-5 over the final 11 rallies. The Eagles (0-2) ran out of points in the second, though, as Amanda Santos registered an ace to get the Pirates to set point, and Tijana Sisic registered the set-winner, assisted by Gomes, a kill to win 25-19, taking a two-set lead in the match.

 

The third was all Park, as the Pirates scored the first two points and led wire-to-wire, going up by nine when Ashley Warehime posted a kill to make it 16-7. Avila scored four-straight late in the set, getting Laurel Dehn's kill to cut Park's lead to 20-16, but the Pirates scored the next four points, up 23-17 on an errant Eagle serve, before reaching set point on a kill by Dudra.

 

Santos came up big from the service line for a second time a play later, ending the match with an ace on Avila's Lindsey Butler.

 

For the second-straight match, the Pirates held an opponent without a double-digit scorer, as Avila was led by Paige Racker's nine kills off the bench.

 

Park is back in action Saturday in Marshall, beginning at 10 a.m., against the University of Saint Mary. The weekend road trip ends with an afternoon match against the most stern test on the early portion of the schedule, as the Pirates meet Ottawa University (RV), Saturday at noon. Both matches will feature live stats, with links to follow both contests at www.parkathletics.com